Follow-up legislation to the prior “Mighty Ducks” initiative outlines an attempt to save dozens of the state’s local ice rinks. Recent EPA regulations on Freon will eliminate the importation of the environmentally hazardous material by 2020. Most of the state’s ice rinks currently use the chemical to artificially maintain their ice, but renewing or replacing the coolant can be prohibitively expensive. Many rinks can face hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to replace Freon, which has already led to the closure of several facilities across the state.
The bill would allocate $5 million to replace Freon-based coolant systems in hockey facilities in Minnesota. Minnesota has a long and proud history of being the “hockey state,” and many communities need these investments to ensure their children are able to enjoy this sport and others well into the future. The bill received a very positive hearing on Tuesday, and was laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus budget bill. (S.F. 2002)